It’s not often that A-list Hollywood celebrities can relate to the lives of Joe Public, particularly when it comes to money.
But Blade star Wesley Snipes knows what it feels like to miss a couple of bills – in fact, he’s charged with missing a whole host of tax bills on the $38 million he earned between 1999 and 2004.
You may be more likely to miss a £38 credit card bill than a $38 million tax bill – and you may not be in a position to call on the likes of Muhammad Ali, Goldie Hawn and Sylvester Stallone in your defence (yes, they’re all signed up as potential witnesses…), but the lesson is the same – the consequences of missing payments can be severe.
MoneyExpert.com research shows that some 6.9 million household bills went unpaid in the past six months, showing that household budgets everywhere are feeling the strain. And with energy prices on the rise again, experts are warning that many more people’s finances could be stretched to breaking point as people struggle to make ends meet.
Snipes reportedly faces up to 16 years in jail if he’s found guilty, and while we’re not suggesting you could be behind bars for forgetting to post your gas bill, there are plenty of ways in which you could be affected by a missed bill.
And unless you can rely on making a blockbuster movie to see you through, the chances are one or two missed bills is a sign your money problems aren’t going away.
Most service providers, banks and building societies will want to work with you to solve your problems if you’re struggling to pay – so don’t bury your head in the sand. But the truth is if you can’t pay, or if you refuse to pay, you will lose the service altogether and could end up in court like Mr. Snipes.
What are my options?
If one of the 1.39 million unpaid gas bills in the country is sitting on your kitchen table, or perhaps it’s one of the 2.3 million council tax bills that is running late, you should think about how you can turn the problem around.
Paying one bill late is not something to panic about. But if it keeps happening you need to look at your finances more closely. Are you spending more than you can afford? Have too many bills increased at once and is there something you could change to save some cash?
One option is to cover your debts with a personal loan – if you’re in the red and the bills aren’t being paid, you could collect all your debts into one big loan and manage the repayments more closely. You might even be able to have some cash left over to spend as you please.
Rather than struggling through the maths of half a dozen different demands on your finances, calculate how much money you might need to borrow using our Debt Consolidation Calculator.
Don’t be a passenger (57)
Most people can’t afford to let the bills mount up – you can’t avoid them and they will eventually catch up with you, as Mr. Snipes is now discovering. No one size fits all but if you are struggling to control your debts then consolidating it all is one way to set yourself on a new financial course.